COMMUNITY SAFETY & LIAISON BUDGET VOTE 9 DEBATE SPEECH BY HON M.B GWALA, MPL 16 JULY2019

Hon Speaker,

I would like to start my Debate by saying that in a democratic country, opposition counts and its main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public in a justifiable approach. Hon MEC of Community Safety, Mxolisi Kaunda, the IFP we will continue to critic your department in a constructive manner because criticism is a natural part of leadership. If no one is criticizing your leadership- you are not leading correctly.
Hon, MEC, as the IFP we commend your ability to listen to constructive criticism and respond immediately.
Your leadership responsibility Hon MEC, has made you a more effective, responsive and reliable leader thus far.
We commend the Department of Community and Liaison for being one of the provincial departments that comply with the law. However, the department’s core mandate is to manage the affairs of SAPS and to implement programmes of fighting crime and ensure that KZN is a safe province. Therefore, the big question that needs to be asked is: Is KZN a safer place to live in today than it was yesterday?

Before I dwell much on the subject matter, let me firstly acknowledge, on behalf of the great majority of our people, the sincere appreciation to the members of the South African Police Service for the efforts on trying to making this province safe and secure. Our police officers place their lives in harm’s way as they undertake their duty of confronting the scourge of crime in our communities. Many have paid the ultimate price with their lives and have perished in the line of duty. We must honour these unsung heroes and heroines with an unwavering commitment to intensify the fight against crime.

BUDGET ALLOCATION
Consequently, we feel that the budget of R235 million is just not adequate to meet the demands that this department faces.
The Treasury needs to understand that crime and insecurities poses a serious threats and challenges for our economy, as well as on the day-to-day functioning of our people. It is therefore, essential that resource allocation and execution decisions be underpinned by sound analysis that speaks to the seriousness of the conditions faced by the people in the ground. The current budget should be mainly allocated to the provision of resources and equipment’s for the police officers to meet their constitutional obligations to the nation.
This includes, but not limited to the prioritization of building of more well capacitated police stations closer to the people in townships, informal settlements and rural areas. Police visibility, accessibility and response need a dramatic improvement in rural areas and townships and this can only be achieved if the department is well capacitated in terms of resources and equipments.

When presenting the 2018/19 budget for Vote 9, of the Department of Community Safety and Liaison, under the theme “DECLARING WAR AGAINST CRIME” the MEC promised us change that he was going to eradicate crime in the Province. However, 2018 official crime statistics, are saying something opposite, particularly, murder, sexual offences, illegal guns, drug related crimes, contact crimes and drunk driving crimes increased.
In this financial year the IFP want to see the Department implement the following:

TO FIGHTING CRIME
Although the department embarked on programmes to improve the capacity of law enforcement agencies including the Police service in dealing with disturbing offences, we feel that more still needs to be done, especially in places like the Durban Central which made it to the top 10 list for the most occurrences of “common robbery” in the whole country and has the second highest rate of car theft in the entire country. The biannual crime statistics released by Farmers Union TLU SA revealed that farm attacks have increased by 60% in the last decade. KZN local police force is losing its war on crime.
Our farmers and farmworkers live in constant fear because the government does not deem rural safety a priority.
They deserve safer communities and an honest and professional police service that actually serves them. However, this province remains severely under-resourced, under-trained, under-equipped and under-staffed.
We would like the MEC to consider implementing the following solutions:
Change crime reporting timelines from annually to quarterly or even monthly. Such a change will improve oversight.
Use crime-statistics as a tool to identify hot spots. If you know where crime is taking place, you will know where to focus your limited resources.
Implementation of Rural Safety Units. The attacks on farms are a major concern, not only does it result in horrendous deaths and despair, but also threatens our province’s food security and economy.

KZN POLICE COMMISSIONER
The IFP is concerned about the sluggish pace in appointing the permanent KZN Police Commissioner. Therefore, we call upon the Hon MEC Kaunda to put pressure to the Minister of Police, Hon Bheki Cele to fast-track the process of appointing the permanent police commissioner.
We demand a competent commissioner who will not be easily manipulated by criminals. Someone who will be tough in weeding out criminals that are terrorising our communities.

TRAINING OF SAPS
It is our view that the leadership of SAPS must ensure that sufficient funds are invested in the field of training and development of officers at all levels, including managerial level.
We need to have sufficiently skilled and properly trained officials to be entrusted with the responsibility of making sure that those who are in conflict with the law are taken care of within the relevant prescripts. Crime, corruption as well as the proliferation of firearms in our society, stands in direct opposite of achieving the goal of having a safe society.

The police, whose function is to create conditions for safety and security, are expected by government to be an effective service in which all citizens can have the fullest confidence. For this to happen, the police must be well trained and competent, and work well with members of the communities they serve.

CORRUPTION IN THE SAPS
To say a police service is professional is to claim that there’s a code of ethics that governs them, there are credible structures of accountability and that these ensure their integrity in delivering a certain quality of service to the public. As the IFP we call upon the MEC for Community Safety to urgently work on a plan with implementable measures to tackle corruption in law enforcement in the province.

The IFP make this call after a report published by Corruption Watch exposed disturbing levels of graft, bribery, abuse of power, failure to act and dereliction of duty by officials in all ranks of law-enforcement including station commanders, sergeants and warrant officers. The IFP calls for the removal of “greedy, politically influenced, ethically compromised individuals and those police officers who use the profession as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.

ILLEGAL GUNS & POLITICAL KILLINGS
Again, in his speech in 2018, in eradicating illegal guns the MEC said “Working with the Private Security Industry Regulating Authority and the police, we are also going to embark on an intensive campaign to screen all VIP Security Guards. In partnership with the Department of Home Affairs, the Department will facilitate the development of a provincial firearm register against the population register to ascertain how many people are in possession of licensed firearms and who have lost them.” Therefore, the question to be asked is why criminals are still killing people using illegal guns? How many VIP and Security Guards have been screened so far? Without proper implementation of what the MEC has promised all efforts to fight this scourge will be futile.
We urge the Hon MEC to ensure that political killings come to an end in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Illegal firearms have been identified as the weapon of choice for murders in South Africa’s nine metro cities, where the average murder rate is well above the national average murder rate, according to the 2018 State of Urban Safety in South Africa Report. This calls for the KZN MEC Kaunda to do more in eradicating illegal guns in our society. It has also been revealed that almost 24 guns per day were “lost or stolen” in South Africa during the 2017/18 financial year.
We think it is high time that a commission of inquiry into the proliferation of illegal guns must be established. These guns are also used in political killings in the province. Izinkabi are using these guns to kill politicians. We must squeeze the space for trigger happy criminals.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN
We believe that abusers have no place in our society. Crimes for women and child abuse must be priorities. I would like to urge all stakeholders including Government Offices, NGOs, Local Leaders, Religious and Cultural Leaders and parents to wholeheartedly take domestic violence as a serious problem for our communities. One that is a serious setback for the growth and development of our communities. We need to support development programmes that eradicate domestic violence from our communities. We need awareness in the forms of community sensitizations, dialogue meetings and community engagement to deal with these issues.

POLICE BRUTALITY ON PROTESTERS
Is the government taking steps to address police violence?
Rhetoric about curbing police violence haven’t been matched by concrete action or strategy. The government’s approach is reactive, responding to public pressure to investigate instances of police violence.

CLEAN AUDIT REPORT
We commend the department for complying with laws and regulations of this country. Since 2014, the Department of Community Safety and Liaison has been obtaining unqualified audit opinions. We urge the MEC to continue safeguarding the public purse in this department.
Sibonge futhi nokuthi uNgqongqoshe kulula ukuxhumana naye uma kunezinto ezidinga ukuxoxwa. Siyakubonga lokho ngoba abanye ontabakayikhonjwa uma besezikhundleni baphenduka o-alubhadwa.

RADICAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
Last year the MEC admitted in this House that the department has been unable to determine its procurement from people with disability due to a challenge with the classification on the Central Supplier Database (CSD). Therefore, we urge the MEC to prioritise people with disability. Failure to do so is to undermine their rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
Finally, we call upon the police to ensure child friendly, conducive services and environment for reporting and dealing with any incidents of violence against children and women so that our societies leave in peace.

CROSS BORDER CRIME
Cross-border crime remains a serious concern in this province. More needs to be done to eradicate crime in our borders.
In conclusion, Quinton Hogg an outstanding member of the British Parliament once said:

“A country cannot be fully free until they have an organised opposition. The absence of an organised opposition is not long from dictatorship.”
The IFP will continue to exercise intensive oversight over this department and the MEC to ensure a safer environment for the citizens of KZN.

I thank You